2023 New York Yankees Season Preview

Well, the Superbowl is done, and that means Major League Baseball’s Spring Training is here! Pitchers and catchers reported February 13th, and we’re officially off and running with the 2023 MLB season! There have been a few rule changes going into this season that will immediately be noticeable. First off, there’s a pitch clock to attempt to help speed up the game a bit. In testing it out last season in the minors, it managed to shave roughly about a half hour off of a typical game. How exactly it’ll be implemented in the postseason remains to be seen since those can be some real pressure cooker games that while it would be nice to not have to devote 5 hours to watching a single game, taking away some of the suspense might not be such a great idea. Case-in-point: ESPN ran a great story here about how Kirk Gibson’s walk-off home run at-bat during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series would have been impacted by these new rules. It’s a great read, certainly worth checking out!

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What is Wrong With the New York Yankees?

Before I get started, I want to be completely transparent here: for the last few years, I’ve begun typing season retrospectives much like this one, and each year, they end up not getting published and are left to rot here in my drafts bin. The reason for this is because as I go back to proofread these things, I don’t necessarily like the way I come off in these pieces. I’ve always hated the notion that Yankees fans are entitled crybabies who need to be humbled. But the truth of the matter is that the team’s last owner, George M. Steinbrenner, III, instilled in fans of his team that to the Yankees organization, any season that doesn’t end with a World Series Championship is a failure.

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Yankees vs. Astros and The Building of a Rivalry

As a Yankees fan, the main rivalry for my New York Yankees has always been with the Boston Red Sox. It’s a rivalry that’s stood the test of time and has lasted well over a century now. From when Harry Frazee sold the contract of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919 to fund his musical, “No, No, Nanette”, and that sparked the Curse of the Bambino for Boston, in which they would go championship-less for 86 years, experiencing postseason heartbreak after painful postseason heartbreak.

To me, the best rivalries revolve around postseason matchups & over my lifetime, the ones that built over the course of a few seasons would include the Angels, and most recently, the Astros. For a few seasons there in 2002 & 2005, it seemed that Mike Scioscia’s Angels had the Yankees’ number, defeating New York in the Divisional Series both years, but that demon was slayed in 2009 when the Yankees finally defeated the Angels in the American League Championship Series en route to their 27th World Series Championship.

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Paul O’Neill and The Retirement of #21

When you look back at the Yankees’ dynasty run of the late 90s, everyone always brings up the “Core Four” as they like to term the group of Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte & Mariano Rivera, and rightfully so…two of them are first-ballot Hall of Famers! But to think that those teams relied fully on the amazing play of those four players would be foolish. There are countless other players whose team-first mentality and post season heroics helped build that dynasty as well, such as Bernie Williams, Scott Brosius & especially the man who I’m here to sing the praises of today: Paul O’Neill.

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Madison Square Garden

Madison Square Garden, The Garden, MSG, The World’s Most Famous Arena, The Mecca of Basketball (stated as such by Michael Jordan)…this building has more monikers than it has Championship Banners hanging in the rafters. Ok, ok…I digress! My Devils may have a beautiful new(ish) arena in Newark, but this is still the best place to see a pro hockey game. Truth be told, this is THE Arena of all Arenas, and it’s located smack dab in the center of New York City, the media capital of the world. Located just blocks from the Empire State Building and directly on top of the busiest train hub in the country, The Garden is truly an engineering marvel!

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Brendan Byrne Arena/Continental Airlines Arena/IZOD Center

From their inaugural season in New Jersey, after relocating from Denver, Colorado before the 1982-83 NHL season, the newly rechristened New Jersey Devils called the Brendan Byrne Arena home for 24 seasons.

But the Devils weren’t the only New Jersey professional sports team to call the arena home. In fact, the arena was originally built to be a home for the relocating New York Nets, who had previously played their home games at the Nassau Coliseum. And though the arena was built to be a basketball arena, the intentions of building the arena was also to lure an NHL team to New Jersey. By the time the arena was built, the Nets had already moved out to New Jersey and were playing their home games in New Brunswick at the Rutgers University Athletic Center for a couple years. So when the arena was completed in 1981, it had an immediate tenant.

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Professional Sports Frustrations/Satisfactions

I’ve been a fan of the New Jersey Devils for just about as long as I can remember. The team originally came to New Jersey from Colorado back in 1982 — when I was 4 years old. So during the time I’ve followed them, I’ve been there from the lowest of lows – routinely finishing in the basement of the Patrick Division to the highest highs of their existence – making it to the Stanley Cup Finals 5 times, and winning the Cup three times. Unfortunately, we’re back to one of those low points in the franchise’s existence. Since making it to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2012 and losing to the LA Kings in 6 games, the team has certainly fallen on hard times.

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2017 New York Yankees Thoughts

So I’m not gonna lie…I’m still sore about the Yankees’ loss in game 7 of the 2017 ALCS to the Astros.

I know, I know…we’re supposed to be happy with the progress this team of youngsters made this year and marvel at the fact that this was to be the first “rebuilding year” of possibly many, only it turned out that this team of kids with a few veterans sprinkled in caught lightning in a bottle, were competitive all year long, made it into the wildcard game and actually won to advance on to the American League Divisional Series.

And they did it in true Yankee style…proving that they’re a team that plays the full 9 innings, that an early deficit can be overcome and that at Yankee Stadium, on a night in October, anything is still possible. Oh the ghosts were out and plenty of Yankees postseason magic was in the air in the Bronx, which really got me to thinking that this might be the year they get #28!

Until it wasn’t. So let’s go back and look at some of the amazing memories from this past season, shall we? And then we’ll come back to how it all ended. Continue reading “2017 New York Yankees Thoughts”

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